Posts tagged as:

beauty is as beauty does

Losing

April 21, 2013

in therapy in session

I have lost 30 lbs. since last summer.

There. I said it.

I don’t know why I have been feeling too embarrassed to tell you this. I feel guilty. What’s with all the “you are beautiful the way you are” “girl power” blah blah rah rah Dove marketing speeches I tend to meander into. I did not come clean earlier because I am worried that you will somehow be mad. Somehow it feels like I have committed betrayal.

It all started last May when they were getting a Weight Watcher group together at work. Have I told you that my office has 500+ people and most of them are young and female, above-average-looking and most importantly, thin? It took a llllooooonnnnngggggg time to get 15 people (the minimum for a WW group leader to come onsite) to sign up. I thought, “Why not? I have nothing to lose [ha ha].” I was lucky that the WW method of counting points turned out to work for me. It was difficult in the beginning of course considering how an ounce of vodka is 5 points and I had only 29 points per day to spend. What saved me was the “rule” that all vegetables and fruits count as zero point and therefore I filled myself up with apples and bananas in the morning and ate a lot of grapes throughout the day. At night I ate a lot of egg whites and fish which I loved.

I eventually got a hang of it: counting points forced me to become aware of everything that went into my mouth. [Stop giggling, you pervs!] I learned to make mental trade-offs: “Do I want to have this piece of cheap cookie now or do I want a shot of vodka later?”  I started eating healthier with less carb and smaller portions without going hungry and found myself with lots more energy. When we left for Taiwan last August to visit my family I’d lost about 15 lbs.

I was excited to be home even more because I thought that my family would notice my weight loss and would, you know, say something nice.

What was I thinking?

I tried to brush off the usual comments about my “American” size –  These comments were laid upon me by everybody, I mean, EVERYBODY, sometimes even strangers (grandmothers with good intentions lest I lose my husband due to my not keeping myself in good shape…) every time I went home. you’d thought by then I’d gotten used to them.

Pardon the cliche, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when a female relative greeted me with this line, “Come let me see how much fatter you are since the last time I saw you.” It sounds a lot worse in English. In Chinese, it could be interpreted as a good-humored tease, showing affection and familiarity. But what the fuck? I’d lost 15 lbs before I came home. How much thinner do I have to be to make you people happy?!

The thing about teasing by your Chinese family is that you cannot get upset. If you do, people will be offended that you cannot take a joke, and that somehow is a sign of poor upbringing.

“You bring dishonor to your family.” <– Ok. That was a joke.

I gritted my teeth and smiled while she spun me around.  As soon as she’s done “inspecting” me, I immediately accused myself so I could rush to the bathroom and quietly sob behind the door.

Usually I give up easily. I don’t ever remember myself being the type of people that turn rejection into a motivating force.

“You don’t like me? Fine. I will just crawl into a dark corner and die. Take THAT!”

Something clicked however last summer as I sat wide awake in our hotel room at dawn while the kids were still sound asleep. [Btw, THANK GOD for kids that do not suffer jet lags!] I started taking full advantage of the decked out gym and spa at W Taipei. I was on the machine for an hour in the morning. I went back to the machine for another hour in the evening, sometimes after midnight because I resented those beautiful people that were frolicking in the bar area surrounding the beautiful swimming pool. [I know this does not make any sense at all. Just work with me…]

Maybe that’s what did it. The 10 days of serious workout regiment kicked off some weird biological thing inside my body. Long story short, instead of gaining weight from stuffing myself with all the awesome food that I had missed (I was not going to let those people stop me from eating. Hell no! Carb or no carb!) I ended up shedding more lbs during the trip.

I will be honest even though I fear I sound like a hypocrite: I do like looking at my pictures more now. They look more like what I’ve imagined myself to look like all along. [Yes, I will also confess that I am a Narcissist.  So there!] Instead of deleting every single picture with me in it, I will do that to only 80% of them. Yes, possibly I have also become more vain: without telling people back home that I have lost weight, I started posting pictures of myself on Facebook. An actual announcement and especially the explanation of how would equal defeat in my mind, an admission that they have somehow won. Also, deep down I fear that some of them would probably have said, “Oh, you’ve lost weight? I did not notice. How much did you lose?…”

I was hoping that people would get the idea.

Oh no you didn't

I hope you regret it now because I was cute before and now I am just fucking gorgeous.

 

 

What was I thinking, really?

My mom called tonight.

“So and so was showing me your pictures from Face Book. She said that you seem to have lost a lot of weight. I said, ‘Nooo. Did she? Nah.’ Did you? You didn’t right? You look the same to me.”

I shut my eyes tightly and took a deep breath.

I said nothing.

Nothing.

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Random Randomness

January 16, 2013

in random

I confess the reason why I took to Twitter so passionately was because I am the ultimate “idea man”. You know, like those people that go in front of movie studios execs to pitch movie ideas? (I learned of the movie industry from TV shows so YMMV) I have lots of one-liner ideas but that is the extent of my “genius”. Every day I walk through life making running commentaries on people I see, things I observe, news I hear, and [invisible] thought bubbles that pop up over my head. Not to mention the memes and quotes that make me laugh as I rapidly scroll through Facebook streams on my phone.

Oh, I should write about THAT.

I’d open my laptop, jotting a couple of lines down, and immediately running out of steam.

Dead. Nothing. Void. Hollow caverns echoing with the witty one-liners.

“There should never be a BUT following a true apology. Lance Armstrong apologizes like my husband.”

Manti Te’o would have stood out like a sore thumb in NFL since he’d probably be the most faithful and gentlemanly boyfriend amongst all the NFL players.”

“Frankly I could care less that he lied. I am more concerned about the culture that forced Manti Te’o to fabricate a girlfriend who died of a [fake] tragic death.”

Echo. Echo. Echo.

 

I hope you will forgive me for the mental purge here. My brains are hurting with all the echo. Ok, smart ass. I know you can’t really get rid of echo by “purging” them. It’s just a figure of speech though I am definitely mixing analogies here.

 

I am sitting inside the train station again on a Saturday morning, waiting for Mr. Monk, my 10-year-old boy, to get out of the weekly religious class run by a Catholic Church that more than one Catholics have told me is TOO conservative even for them. There are reasons we are keeping him there and I will not get into them. Suffice it to say that my sons and I have had a lot of great discussions and I hope, we are “training” them to be critical thinkers.

What don’t kill you will only make you stronger.

 

What does it say about me that I love being in a crowd of strangers and feeling alive amongst the hustle and bustle? Invisible yet alive. This is the kind of crowd different from say, going to a conference or a party. There is no pressure, no obligation, no anticipation to socialize with each other. And absolutely no networking. I ABHOR the concept of “networking” by the way. I’d rather die. There I said it. Probably why I will never get ahead on the career ladder. I wish for my kids super-duper Google-Fiber-grade networking capability (ha ha I slay me). That’s all that matters nowadays isn’t it no matter what kind of job you are holding?

 

Got my new Kindle Paperwhite this week. I could not shut up about it, I know. I am sorry, ok? Leading to the moment before Marvin arrived (yes, I named my Kindle Marvin. 2 points if you guess Marvin who?) I had been restless, full of anticipation. I have never felt such excitement since… I can’t remember really. I lead a pathetic existence, yes. Now I curl up with Marvin in bed in the dark, caressing his comfortingly textured, paradoxically smooth skin (and promptly fall asleep. I like the concept of reading though). In the recess of my consciousness however I cry, “Traitor!” indignant for my deep love of rubbing my fingers with a book page in between, feeling the heft of somebody else’s words and thoughts in my palm.

Mr. Monk inherited the ex-Marvin now named Tardis. “Bigger on the inside”, get it? 10% into The Hobbit, he exclaimed, “I love Kindle!” he who previously had adamantly been on an anti-electronic-book tirade. “It is just so amazing. It’s like a book but more awe…” I held my tongue that wanted to argue as he curled up in bed with Tardis, so absorbed by what was happening in The Hobbit that he did not even bother to finish his sentence.

 

Facebook introduced GRAPH SEARCH this week. To me it boiled down to one thing: Discoverability. They are not changing their privacy policies per se and you continue to keep your privacy settings. The biggest (only?) difference now is that we can no longer afford to mindlessly LIKE or comment. Your friends will now see what you are liking and commenting on on their streams. We need to watch for WHAT we are liking, and if you are Interneting at work, WHEN you are liking because obviously when you are LIKING you are not WORKING.

I am not liking this.

 

A friend of mine noticed that I LIKED this article:

I Can’t Stop Looking at These South Korean Women Who’ve Had Plastic Surgery (thank goodness it is not something I’d be ashamed of when caught liking) and shared a piece of wisdom from Tina Fey with me. Of course a long tirade swirled inside my head that would have become an awesome blog post were I able to form cohesive sentences and string them together logically into paragraphs. Instead, Imma taking the easy way out. Ctrl C. Ctrl V. SHARE.

 Tina Fey

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

 

Alas nowadays it seems that the eye of the beholder is an one-eye monster, (ok, NOT that one-eye monster), with its narrow, single-minded vision towards “What sells”, deciding what men want, and therefore dictating what women want (because we all want to become what men want, and yes, the assumption/implicit acceptance of heterosexual hegemony is with us. We cannot deny it)

The eye of the beholder is also imbued with the ruthless power of PhotoShop…

Behold this:

 

I don’t even…

Ugh.

 

Every once in a while someone would say something extremely stupid (MORE stupid than what is deemed as “the way the world works”, I should add), and it would rile us up. We’d rally around the targeted, start a movement, hug each other, decide that we should support one another because we are all in this together.

The latest is the brouhaha over a pro-anorexia (I paused when I saw the term “Pro-anorexia”. Anorexia is a life style choice now?!) blog’s scathing, mean-spirited attack on Kate Upton. As a result, the Internet (aka the world) came together showering Ms. Upton with encouragement and support, and by extension, the entire super model community. It’s been getting so much attention that finally when you type in “kate” in Google Search, the first suggested search term is not Kate Middleton. (Speaking of HRH, the news media is now obsessed with her being too thin, even too thin to have a baby. Thought you may appreciate the Schizophrenia here).

 

I was going to end on a cynical, pessimistic note per my MO, waiting for this particular cycle to end and we all go back to our merry old ways. Everything’s the same. Always. But this time around there seems to be something different in the air… A group of teens started petitions, staged protests and mock runway shows outside the offices of popular teen magazines, Seventeen and Teen Vogue. Since telling their peers to simply not read the garbage is not an option, these awesome young feminists started a movement to demand that these magazines stop The PhotoShopping Epidemic. (Of course, initially, both magazines staunchly denied the practice of altering the photographs.)  They confronted the modern-day taste makers publicly and asked them to “stop altering natural bodies and faces so that real girls can be the new standard of beauty.”

Just say no to Photoshop.

How hard could it be, Madison Avenue?

Perhaps it is time (and I know we’ve said this many times in the past, but we need to repeat it over and over because people are forgetful) that we take the gaze back. Forget about the stupid beholder.

You be the judge. You.

 

ETA: This is the reason why I write less and less here – I can never finish what I start. As I was brushing my hair this morning – it is a new thing for me nowadays now that I have “long” hair, it hit me that what I said as a conclusion above was kind of bullshit. Beauty exists because there is someone else other than ourselves that would be seeing us, no? If I truly, honestly do not care about the gaze, then the concept of beauty has no meaning. It is the “if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it” thing, isn’t it?

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Curious Case of Ruby, the Anti-Barbie

June 4, 2011 a picture is worth a thousand words

I suspect that you have been seeing this picture popping up on your Facebook and/or Twitter stream this week. I did. Like you, I had a visceral response to it. FUCK YEAH! Was exactly what I said to the monitor as I responded to the plea on Facebook “This was an ad made by bodyshop. But Barbie […]

45 comments

Can’t Hardly Wait

March 28, 2011 a picture is worth a thousand words

    Some random associations from a picture I took this Sunday. Budding. Can’t hardly wait. Spring Awakening. Frank Wedekind Frank Wedekind who in 1906 gave us a play criticizing the sexually repressed society with depictions of group masturbation and other subjects that scandalized theatre goers. This quote attributed to Wedekind which made me chuckle […]

54 comments